WATTYS WINNER 2020
Two interconnected murders, 64 years apart. One woman's search for truth and identity.
Readers' comments: 'a masterpiece', 'impeccably written', 'amazing', 'superbly crafted page-turner', 'hauntingly beautiful', 'tremendous plot and character development', 'one of a kind', 'fantastic story telling', 'loved this book', 'a wonderful read", 'absolutely beautiful', 'brought tears to my eyes' and many more
Wattys judging panel: 'This is VERY good. We were HOOKED from the beginning, and the writing and plot hold up throughout. This is a very unique, polished, well-written and well-researched piece.'
Set partly in rural England, partly on the sun-kissed coast of southerm Italy, The Painted Altar is a murder mystery mixed with romantic and historical elements (World War Two). Given away at two days old, Mary Rice has spent her life in the shadows. When discovering the suspicious circumstances surrounding her biological mother's death, she embarks on a journey which will shine a light not only on the truth but also on her own identity.
Suddenly, the door had inched open, half a wrinkled face visible behind the tautened chain.
"Hello. Who is it?"
The words I was going to say had of course been well-rehearsed, repeated over and over in my mind like a mantra, but now that the moment had arrived I found myself struggling to remember them.
"Mrs Harvey... I think that you might... well, that you might be..."
The door closed, then slowly opened once more, the chain this time unlatched. And there she was before me - half a metre away, within arm's reach. Thin lips gradually crooking upwards at each corner like the slow beatific kindling of a summer's dawn.
"Oh yes love, I know who you are."
Length: 70,000 words
About the author: Originally from England but for the last 16 years I've been living in Italy. I hope therefore that the Italian aspects of the novel will have a certain gloss of authenticity.
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